Q: Please, about the religions of authority: the LDS( Church of Jesus Christ) have it that Jesus has restored the original organisation as it was of His ministry through them. Something He did through Joseph Smith. Upon enquiries, I've found out that they have the same set-up as it was in the days of the Master. The 12, the 70 etc. The land of Ephraim, they claim is America and if so all must gather into this brotherhood (church of Jesus Christ of LDS) since Ephraim was Israel's successor. I am confused. What do you say about this please? I am just concerned because, the message which they have, if heeded to, will help unite the spiritual brotherhood which is in so much confusion now on earth. Jesus also said in the gospels that when we become one, then will the world come to the point of knowing that He is indeed the Son of God. This gathering together, I believe, could be spiritual or the physical gathering into one. Already many around the world have converted into this brotherhood. Please what do you think? Thank you.
A: Thank you for this thoughtful question...
I hear in your question a searching belief that this "gathering together" is a very important thing—and you are right. I could not agree more.
In your first sentence, you mention the religions of authority. The Mormon Church is one of the religions of authority, as are most—if not all—of the religions that we know of. Each one has it's own set of beliefs and dogma, and many claim that their brand of religion is the best one. Many religions—if not all—worship God, and some worship Jesus as well, like the Mormons.
All of them are good to the extent that they bring people closer to God, and any church that promotes the establishment of the brotherhood of man is probably a good religion, as this was a large part of Jesus teachings as well. Jesus' gospel was the good news of the Fatherhood of God which makes all of God's children brothers and sisters—the brotherhood of man. You would do no wrong by deciding to embrace the spiritual teachings of the Mormon Church.
However—the message pf the worldwide brotherhood that the LDS church is promoting began with Jesus, but his idea was not to box it up into a theologic package. His idea was to make it a dynamic experience of living.
I want to remind you of the fact that ANY institutionalized church represents a religion of authority. The fact that the LDS assumes that their church comprises all of the brotherhood of man, and that all should join their church to belong to that brotherhood is evidence of that authority. That authority is man-made, not of God.
More important for the individual is to understand that the brotherhood of mankind is inclusive of ALL—no matter whether they belong to the LDS church, the Catholic Church, or no church at all.
The religion of Jesus can be practiced even while we are members of a traditional church such as the LDS, because Jesus' religion leaves us free to find truth wherever we find it. Jesus established and practiced his religion as the religion of personal spiritual experience—it is an ongoing experience with God in the inner lives of the invisible brotherhood of spiritual believers.
It may be that you might find good work to do in the Mormon Church working towards the realization of the brotherhood. A church can be a good place to meet like-minded people who are working towards goodness together. But to think that you MUST join this church in order for the gathering to occur is not something I cannot tell you is true.
From The Urantia Book:
As far as I know, this is not yet true of any earthly church, including the LDS, although their motives may be yet be quite good, and their work uplifting of the brotherhood.
(103:5.12) When a member of a social religious group has complied with the requirements of such a group, he should be encouraged to enjoy religious liberty in the full expression of his own personal interpretation of the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience. The security of a religious group depends on spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. A religious group should be able to enjoy the liberty of freethinking without having to become "freethinkers." There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the brotherhood of man, and dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members.
To read more about Urantia Book teachings—as well as many of Jesus' teachings—regarding the brotherhood of man, please go HERE.
(195:10.1) The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church — the Jesus brotherhood — is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity. Uniformity is the earmark of the physical world of mechanistic nature. Spiritual unity is the fruit of faith union with the living Jesus. The visible church should refuse longer to handicap the progress of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of God. And this brotherhood is destined to become a living organism in contrast to an institutionalized social organization. It may well utilize such social organizations, but it must not be supplanted by them.
I hope this has been helpful to you.